Coffee break with Stuart
I am excited to get the chance to sit down with Stuart Reed, an independent consultant working with Intium. Stuart has an impressive and longstanding history in IT and tech and Intium is very proud to have him on board as he adds even more hands-on experience to our company.
Stuart, a very warm welcome to you! We are all excited to have you on board. What was the first job you ever had?
Stuart: If you put aside summer jobs on building sites, my first proper job was working as a trainee accountant at a local Chartered Accountant firm. It was incredibly tedious work but it taught me a lot about different types of businesses, patience, and endurance. I transitioned into IT when the company next door hired me to help them install accounting software in their offices. I haven’t looked back since.
Who did you wanna be when you were younger?
Stuart: I have always been a nerd. I recall answering this question at school at around 11 years old. I said I wanted to be a “Systems Analyst”.
You have been a team lead in IT. What would you pinpoint as the most important component of a great IT team?
Stuart: A great leader (joke). I don’t think it’s possible to isolate a single aspect, but if I was forced to choose, I would say Cognitive Flexibility. AI is likely to bring significant change to our lives in the coming years. IT professionals are going to need to learn and adapt quickly if they’re going to remain useful and competitive.
You have 20+ years of experience with different positions and extensive business knowledge. Why did you choose to go for IT due diligence? What do you like about your job?
Stuart: I’m fortunate to have many years of experience, across numerous businesses and countless projects. IT Due Diligence and consulting more generally, allows me to draw upon that experience, recognizing the good and bad practices that I have seen in the past. I think this is a good way for me to add value at this time in my career and I find it rewarding.
You have had very hands-on experience with IT and tech and you have conducted tech due diligence projects for tech companies. Has it made you see your hands-on work experience in a different light now?
Stuart: I try to remain “hands-on” because it gives me a deeper understanding of how technologies work and this allows me to better judge how and where they should be applied. I have learned that vendors’ marketing material tends to overstate their product’s capabilities!
What do you think will happen in the tech due diligence market in 2023? What trends do you see?
Stuart: As in so many sectors I think it’s all about AI. In the short term, I expect that language models will take on more of the reporting work and this will free up consultants to focus on analysis and value creation. Intium is moving in this direction.
How did Intium manage to persuade you to work with us?
Stuart: I worked with Agu at a different firm in the past. I found him to be a very hardworking, conscientious, committed, and knowledgeable person. I thought that if I work with Intium some of these qualities might “rub off” on me! He also promised that with Intium’s proprietary tech solution, there would be less report writing to do. We’re not there yet but Intium is on the right track.
You have conducted tech due diligence exercises before but this was the first time you used any kind of supporting software. Please tell me what were your first impressions about using Sonar.
Stuart: Yes, this is the first time I’ve used supporting software. In the past, DD has been a very manual process. Lots of copy-pasting, writing, rewriting, rephrasing, restating - it could be very cumbersome. Sonar helps channel findings, observations, risks, and mitigations into the final report in a consistent and repeatable manner. It’s not 100% there yet but it’s making steady progress.
What are the main differences between doing tech due diligence projects with Sonar and without Sonar?
Stuart: Without Sonar one would need to keep track of concepts: risks, mitigations, metrics, etc. in myriad systems and then manually integrate them into a single report. Sonar guides the consultant through the DD process, it gives them placeholders for the important data and takes care of channeling that data into useful/actionable information in the report. Reports are more consistent as they rely less on the consultant’s writing style.
You work with Intium 100% remotely. How does that suit you and do you ever miss going to the office?
Stuart: Not really. I work in a co-working space, so I get social interaction and a productive work environment, without a commute and without the constant temptation of food in the kitchen. I want to be clear that I’m available for visits to offices in exotic locations, should any opportunities arise!
What do you like to do when you are off work? Do you have a matter you are passionate about?
Stuart: When I have free time I like to ski and swim and I enjoy trail running in the forest. My 11-year-old son tends to absorb whatever time remains. Being a reserved and somewhat cynical Brit I use the P word sparingly.
Thank you, Stuart, for introducing yourself to us! If you would like to hear more about our Sonar product and services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org